Four Dead, 2,000 Evacuated as Heavy Rains Wreak Havoc in Kerala; Red Alert Issued in Four Districts
Thiruvananthapuram: Heavy rains and landslides in Kerala over the last 24 hours have claimed six lives, while nearly 2,000 people have been evacuated and shifted to relief camps. A red alert has been sounded in Idukki, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Malappuram districts of the state, with eight other districts on orange alert.
The deluge comes almost a year after the devastating floods in the state. Munnar and Vandipperiyar in Idukki, Nilambur in Malappuram, and Mavoor in Kozhikode are reportedly inundated.
"The situation looks more serious than last year. Most of the rivers and streams are flowing beyond their capacity due to the heavy rains," said Rajesh, a resident of Vythiri in Wayanad.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan chaired a high-level meeting and took stock of the situation.
The chief minister's office has directed district collectors to evacuate people from danger-prone areas. "We have requested more NDRF teams to be sent to the state. Already two teams have been sent to Nilambur and Idukki," a CMO release said.
"The Army swung into action for the disaster relief and rescue operations in the flood-hit Wayanad and Coorg District of Tamil Nadu... One column consists of an officer, three junior commissioned officers, and 55 other ranks," a defence release said.
According to disaster management authorities, a total of 13 NDRF team would be deployed for rescue operations and five teams are already out on the mission.
Three deaths were reported from Idukki where a ban on heavy-load vehicles and tourists was issued. A one-year-old named Manjusree, whose parents work at a tea estate in Chinnakkanal in Idukki, died on Thursday after a landslide on the quarters where the family was staying. Another person, identified as Jyothi, drowned in a river. Madhu Krishnani, a native of Odiya, died in Kanjar after the shanty in which she lived collapsed.
Another person, 54-year-old K Padmanabhan, died in Mattannur in Kannur after drowning in a stream.
A 50-year-old woman named Kara had died on Wednesday after a tree fell over her house at Attappady in Palakkad district. Muthu, 24, died while shifting from her house in Panamaram village in Wayanad.
Incessant rain has been reported from many parts of Kottayam district as well.
Besides road transport, train service was also disrupted across the state with most of the trains getting delayed by nearly five hours. "We have cancelled all the passenger trains. Almost all trains are running late due to heavy downpour in Kerala," said a Railway public relations officer.
The state government has asked tourists not to travel to high-range areas, including Idukki, while restrictions have been imposed in Ponmudi, a hill station near here.
Water level is rising in most of the rivers and dams across the state with Kannur, Wayanad, Idukki, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kasaragod districts facing a flood-like situation.
Major rivers like Manimala, Meenachal, Moovattupuzha, Chaliyar, Valapattanam, Iruvazjinjpuzha and Pamba are in spate.
A large number of houses were completely damaged in heavy rains and strong winds which lashed the state since Wednesday.
Nilambur, a major town in Malappuram district, has been flooded, with water level rising up to the first floor of many buildings. Only roof of shops and houses could be seen in many parts of the submerged town, where people had to use country-made boats and large metal vessels to row to safety.
Parked cars and other vehicles were completely submerged and nearly 200 families have been shifted to 10 relief camps.
In high-range Wayanad, which had witnessed heavy loss in the August floods last year, 16 relief camps have been opened and over 2,300 people have been shifted.
A landslide was reported from Chappamala at Iritty taluk in Kannur district. Around 50 families have been evacuated from the taluk, where most places are submerged, since Wednesday night.
Several villages in the hilly areas of Taliparamba in the district were also flooded and evacuation process is underway, a Kannur revenue official said.
Munnar, a high range tourist destination in Idukki district has been receiving heavy downpour with the IMD recording 19.4 cm of rain as per the latest report.
Widespread landslips were also reported from across the district with most of the major roads getting blocked and Marayur, the sandalwood forest reserve, getting isolated.
A holiday has been declared for all educational institutions in most of the northern districts including Kannur, Wayand and Malappuram, authorities said.
A report from Kochi said Irrigation department issued an alert, asking people living on the banks of river Periyar including Aluva, to be more vigilant as water level was rising due to heavy rains. Water entered the famous Lord Shiva temple situated on the bank of Periyar, authorities said.
During last year’s flood, many areas in Aluva were cut off from the mainland.
The department said water level at Bhoothathankettu rose continuously and it has already reached the level of 32.40 m.
Reports from Kottayam district said many areas, including Pala, Erattupetta and Mundakkayam, are under flood threat.
(With inputs from PTI)